The Orland..."/> The Orland..."/> The Orland...","articleSection":"","author":{"@type":"Person","name":"Andrew Melnick","url":"https://orlandomagicdaily.com/author/andrewmelnick/"}}

Orlando Magic @ Indiana Pacers

facebooktwitterreddit

The Orlando Magic now have the second best record in the NBA and if they avoid a slip-up in their last two games, they will have homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals should they get there. The Magic will face a challenge on Monday night. They must travel to Indiana to play the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back Monday night. The Pacers have won four games in a row and 10 of their last 12, including a victory in their last game, a 115-102 win over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday. The Magic defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-92 on Sunday.

These two teams have met three times this season with Indiana winning once on their home floor and the Magic winning twice on their home floor.

NBA

The Pacers have had a season to forget but have been playing well lately and have improved to 32-48. The Pacers have been pretty good at home, posting a record of 23-17 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Magic are 24-16 on the road this season.

Tip-off from Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be aired locally on Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen to it locally on WDBO AM 580 and in Spanish on WONQ AM 1030.

T.J. Ford (strained left groin) and Tyler Hansbrough (inner ear infection) are out indefinitely. Jeff Foster had back surgery and was pronounced out for the season.

The Line: Orlando – 4.0

Starters:

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Rashard Lewis
Matt Barnes
Vince Carter
Jameer Nelson

Indiana Pacers

Roy Hibbert
Troy Murphy
Danny Granger
Brandon Rush
Earl Watson

The Pacers have played the Magic tough this season with the exception of their last game when the Magic blew out the Pacers in Orlando and won 109-98. In their first meeting, the Magic rallied in the fourth quarter for a 106-98 victory and the Pacers won 97-90 in Indianapolis on January 5th.

The Pacers score 100.9 points per game but are just 26th in offensive efficiency. They rank second in the league in pace (97.0). Defensively, they give up 103.7 points per game and rank 13th in defensive rating.

With Danny Granger back from his earlier injury (torn right plantar facia), the Pacers have regained their go-to-guy. Granger is averaging 24.4 points per game this season and has had two 30+ point performances in his last three games. Granger has played just once against the Magic this season and he scored 25 points in that game. Granger will be a very difficult matchup for the Magic.

Indiana has relied on their frontcourt this season.

Troy Murphy has put up effective numbers at Power Forward, scoring 14.8 points and grabbing 10.3 rebounds per game. Murphy scored 25 points against the Nets on Saturday. Indiana’s Center, Roy Hibbert has shown flashes of his potential, but is very inconsistent as evidenced by his three games against Orlando. Hibbert had a 26-point game in Indiana’s home victory over the Magic earlier this season but scored just 11 total points in the Pacers’ two losses in Orlando.

Outside of Hibbert’s big night, Dwight Howard has dominated the Pacers. He’s averaged 21.3 points, 16. 3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game against the Pacers this season and should be in for another big night.

The Pacers have been playing much better lately and the Magic are on the road on the second night of a back-to-back so it should be a tough game. The Magic will have to keep their focus and try not to look ahead to the postseason.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).